What is Anger?
Anger is just one of the many emotions on the human emotional spectrum.
Feelings of anger can be justified when someone has wronged you or something unfair and upsetting happens.
For example, if one of your best friends has betrayed your trust or lied to you, you may feel angry with this person, maybe even hurt. If someone breaks into your home and steals some of your valuables, it's completely understandable to feel angry and violated.
Anger is often the result of frustration, feeling as if you've lost complete control of a situation and feeling betrayed or disrespected by someone.
Our intrinsic reactions and how we respond to anger differentiate normal anger from an anger problem. Below are some differences between healthy responses to anger versus unhealthy responses.
Healthy Responses to Anger
- Stepping away from the situation with the intent to revisit it once you're in a calmer state
- Calmly expressing your feelings of anger and what has caused them. It could be simply venting to a friend or discussing it directly with the person who's angered you.
- Taking a walk, doing some exercise, or using other forms of movement to expel some of the built-up energy.
Unhealthy Responses to Anger
- Yelling at or insulting the person who's wronged you or directing your anger toward an innocent bystander.
- Exhibiting violence out of anger. Whether it's directed at another person or toward an object, like launching a chair across the room or punching a hole in a wall.
- Shutting down and refusing to discuss the source of your anger. Possibly giving the silent treatment to the person who's angered you.
- Self-deprecating behaviors such as self-mutilation or engaging in negative self-talk.
The Symptoms of Anger
You may experience anger on an emotional and physical level.
The physical symptoms of anger include:
- Increased heart rate
- Rising blood pressure
- A tingling sensation through the body
- Tensing of the muscles
Other emotional responses may occur alongside the anger or before and after a bout of anger. These include:
- Feeling irritable
- Feelings of rage
- Heightened stress
- A feeling of overwhelm
The Causes of Anger Problems
On a chemical level, anger is felt in response to a rise in testosterone.
Anger issues could be a symptom of another underlying mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Anger is also a common symptom in people who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Increased anger could also be due to external factors such as living through traumatic events such as witnessing a violent crime, abuse at home, or losing a loved one.
Finally, anger problems can also stem from substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse.
How Anger Management Therapy Can Help
If the above sounds like you, just know that anger management therapy is an effective way of treating issues with anger. Those who have successfully gone through anger management therapy have learned new and healthier ways of dealing with their anger and are able to apply these tools in the long term.
During anger management therapy, a therapist may use cognitive behavioral therapy or psychodynamic therapy to help you work through the underlying reasons for your anger. A therapist can teach you techniques for calming your anger, showing you ways to reflect upon it, and then change your reaction to it.
When To Seek Anger Management Therapy
As stated earlier, anger is a normal emotional reaction. However, there are some signs you should look out for to determine if your anger has become problematic:
- If your anger often resembles rage, you may benefit from treatment that can help you identify why your reactions are so extreme and how you can work on redirecting those feelings in a healthier way.
- If you feel like you live your life with a chip on your shoulder, you may be living with unresolved traumas that can directly impact your outlook on life today. Often, the anger and rage displayed toward others have nothing to do with the other person but more to do with the inner conflicts going on within yourself.
- You have little patience and are quick to snap, think road rage. Working with a therapist can teach you relaxation techniques to help you maintain your cool for longer.
- If your anger is causing you to say things or behave in ways you later regret, anger management coaching can teach you how to communicate your thoughts and feelings in more respectful ways.
- If your anger causes you to be verbally or physically abusive toward others, you will learn how these actions make others feel. Tapping into your empathy can help you see how hurtful these types of behaviors can be.
- Your anger is impacting your relationships. If friends and family are turning their backs on you, it may because they can no longer tolerate your outbursts.
- If you've lost the ability to manage your anger on your own, a therapist or psychiatrist can help you get back to a place of feeling in control.
How We Can Help
National Mental Health is a telehealth psychiatry provider aiming to bring accessible virtual therapy and telepsychiatry to anyone seeking mental health support.
One of our virtual psychiatrists can meet with you to discuss your concerns related to anger management. Your therapist may determine your anger could be a symptom of another underlying mental disorder.
If your therapist determines your anger issues may be due to another disorder, they will develop an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan. While also guiding you to take actionable steps to manage your anger in the meantime.
If your anger is unrelated to another disorder, one of our virtual therapists may recommend treatment through anger management therapy.
Our psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medicine online if they've deemed medication may be a good choice for your treatment.
Please reach out with any questions you may have regarding treatment! After all, you deserve to live life at your happiest.